‘Leverage’ Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: The D.B. Cooper Job

This episode of Leverage opens with the surprise of Parker participating in a breaking and data retrieval with and F.B.I. agent. After returning with him to headquarters Parker is informed that she isn’t to bring the F.B.I. to them, the team helps a far different type of client. Parker begs Nate to at least talk to the guy, telling him that her friend is about to lose his father and needs their help.

Nate talks to the agent and it turns out that his father is dying and was the agent on the D.B. Cooper case and what he is likely to be remembered for after his death. Nate and the team are asked for help in solving the case.

Nate briefs the team and Sophie takes the floor. Her exuberance is a tip off to Harbison that she greatly admires D.B. (Dan) Cooper. Eliot says that there is no case because Cooper couldn’t have survived the jump. Nate leaves to talk to the agents father.

The D.B. Cooper case is simple enough. In November of 1971 a man calling himself Dan Cooper purchased a one way ticket on flight 305 out of Portland. A short time into the flight he passed a note to the flight attendant telling her that he had a bomb and had a list of demands. The flight attendant passed this information on to the flight crew and then, as requested by Cooper, sat next to him for the rest of the flight. After landing in Seattle, all the passengers as well as the flight attendant and the Senior flight attendant were released without incident. The plane took off and Cooper ordered the remaining flight attendant into the cockpit with the flight crew. A short time after that the plane signaled that the rear of the plane was opened. When the crew investigated they found that Cooper was gone, the assumption being that he jumped using one of the parachutes that had been provided as per the ransom demand. No one was injured and Cooper was never found.

Nate gets all the details of the Cooper Hijacking from the agents father. He worked on the case for years, never giving up the search. As he is retelling the story, the cast of the show are seen in the memories. The Agent is now Nate and his wife is Sophie. His colleague is Harbison. The flight attendant and her husbands are Parker and Eliot. The agent recruits the flight attendants husband into the F.B.I. and so Eliot eventually becomes his partner. Together they solve hundreds of cases but never fully give up on the Cooper case.

After the retired agents passes away, Nate and Harbison are going over the information one last time. It turns out that every single piece of the information goes back to the flight attendant. They figure out that the flight attendant gave a false description and while she wasn’t a willing partner in the beginning, she became one. The motivation of Cooper was a deceased friend from the war in Vietnam; he was stealing the money to help the family of his friend.

Nate figured out that the partner of the agent is in fact Cooper and confronts him with the son of the agent. In the end, he lets Cooper go.

While Leverage naturally took a great deal of dramatic license in their rendition of the story, note that nothing has ever officially suggested that the flight attendant was complicit in the events. The Cooper Hijacking Case remains unsolved.

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